Sam Martin

Engineer, Producer, Editor

Sam Martin on SoundBetter

Grammy nominated recording engineer and producer with 15 years experience with both major labels and independents. Professional engineering, production, mixing, tuning, comping, pocketing and more.

I have been working in Nashville for the past 15 years on records that span across different genres that are done for major labels as well as independent clients. I understand what is required to deliver industry professional quality work and can usually work within an artist's budget.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Sam Martin
  • Tyler Farr
  • Tyler Farr
  • Jason Aldean
  • Ali McManus
  • Michael Tyler
  • Ace Frehley
  • Ace Frehley
  • Ace Frehley
  • Ace Frehley
  • Jason Aldean
  • Steve Grand
  • Trevor Hall
  • Jared James Nichols
  • Trevor Hall
  • Magic!
  • Jason Aldean
  • Shakira
  • Frankie Ballard
  • Devin Townsend
  • Devin Townsend Project
  • Alabama
  • Alpha Rev
  • Andy Palmer
  • Andy Palmer
  • Andy Palmer
  • Thomas Rhett
  • The Gallery
  • The Gallery
  • Robert Jon & the Wreck
  • Jhené Aiko
  • Nashville Cast
  • Aerosmith
  • Aerosmith
  • Jason Aldean
  • Nashville Cast
  • Committed
  • Frankie Ballard
  • Frankie Ballard
  • Peggy Lee
  • Lady A
  • Trace Adkins
  • Montgomery Gentry
  • Kyle Turley
  • Turley
  • Kyle Turley
  • Turley
  • Trace Adkins
  • Chely Wright
  • Jason Aldean
  • Elizabeth Cook
  • Jason Aldean
  • Lee Hazlewood
  • Corb Lund
  • Kate Russell
  • Kenny Kilgore
  • Jason Aldean
  • Rodney Crowell
  • Lutinent
  • Preachers Son
  • Angels of Mercy
  • Viza
  • Viza
  • Brady Beard
  • Timothy Craig
  • Timothy Craig
  • Timothy Craig
  • Katey Laurel
  • My Silent Bravery
  • Joe Reese
  • Elliphant
  • Elliphant
  • Danni Rosner
  • Blue Coupe
  • Brenda McMorrow
  • Brenda McMorrow
  • Blackrain
  • Frankie Ballard
  • Vintage Trouble
  • Tyler Rich
  • Shawn K. Clement
  • Robert Fulton

Interview with Sam Martin

  1. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  2. A: Customers like to know about my experience, which I've answered here a few times. They want to know what I charge, which varies depending on what the client needs. They like to know who my past clients have been. They like to ask about any funny/crazy stories from the studio, but I don't talk out of school so they don't get much. They always ask why it sounds so much better than the last place they recorded, which is usually just the result of taking our time. If you give me the time to do the job properly, and a few of the right tools for the job, it will sound great.

  3. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  4. A: How are you? What are you trying to accomplish? What have you done so far and how did you do it? What can I do to help? Do you have any rough mixes of where the project is at the moment? Is there a particular artist, record, or song you want to sound like? What's your budget? What's your time frame?

  5. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  6. A: Don't be intimidated by professionals who look too 'big' for your project, and don't settle for someone you have a bad feeling about. This industry is built on perception, so do some independent research on prospective engineers. Be organized and open about what you want, communication is very important.

  7. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  8. A: I graduated Middle Tennessee State University with a recording degree, interned at a studio in Nashville, got a job at that studio, then proceeded to build up clients. I have been an engineer for 15 years.

  9. Q: How would you describe your style?

  10. A: Professional, serious, encouraging. We're all in this to do the best we can. This is not a job you do just to have a job. So if we're all here working on this together, I give every minute my all.

  11. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  12. A: I had the experience of being a 2nd engineer for a couple Rodney Crowell records and a Chely Wright record he produced. It was the most musical, technical, beautiful, intense, focused use of time and space I have ever heard. The musicianship was insane and the quality was unbelievable.

  13. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  14. A: Justin Cortelyou, Brady Beard

  15. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  16. A: Tricky question. Analog sounds best, always will. Digital is on a curve that will forever be approaching analog, but will never sound better. That being said, analog brings with it a lot of challenges and requirements that make it less than ideal sometimes. Analog gear is big, bulky, expensive, cumbersome, and challenging-but it sounds amazing! Digital offers a ton of advantages especially in recall-ability. It also allows you to use the 'same piece' of gear multiple times over. It is significantly cheaper and takes up less space. Given the opportunity, I have had the best results using both. Digital editing and mixing with analog compression and EQ.

  17. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  18. A: I promise to give the same amount of attention and detail, skill, and interest to every single project regardless of who the artist is. I have always done this and know no other way of working. If I'm working, I'm giving it my best, every time.

  19. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  20. A: I like bringing peoples ideas to life; jumping onto their excitement and figuring out how I can help make the project better. I like the creativity of the job, the power of a song, and the drive we all get when working together to make something as great as it can be. I also just really enjoy doing the work. What I like most about my job is just doing the job!

  21. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  22. A: The biggest misconception, in my opinion, is that anyone with a computer is now an engineer. Technology has allowed us to do a lot more outside of a traditional studio, however there is still a lot to know about engineering-even more when you're trying to be competitive with a studio without using a studio. Having the latest and greatest plug ins and gear is great, but its useless if you don't really know what you're doing.

  23. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  24. A: A piano, two SM7s, headphones, and a UAD Apollo of some sort. Gotta say though, nothing but the piano is going to work so I don't know why we're bringing gear that needs power to a deserted island.

  25. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  26. A: Sturgill Simpson, because I think his creativity is boundless and his delivery is unique. Pearl Jam, because I've liked them since I was a kid. Greg Graffin, because I think there's a lot of similarity between punk and country (3 chords and the truth) and I'd like to work on one of his Americana records.

  27. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  28. A: Music is made up of sound and silence, don't ignore the silence. Sometimes in order to make something bigger, you need to take whatever is competing for the same space away. Production and engineering is an art of subtraction. Stacking a guitar part 12 times, doesn't make it bigger if you're fighting for space. One guitar, recorded properly and carefully, can be engineered to be much bigger.

  29. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  30. A: Country. I live in Nashville, so that's a very large demographic here-however, there are so many talented artists that I have had the opportunity to work on lots of rock records. I've also done americana, singer-songwriter, pop a-capella, classical, jazz, world, kids songs, you name it!

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. A: Attention to detail, and the ability to hear the details.

  33. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  34. A: I have over 20 years experience being a musician myself, so definitely an understanding of music, music theory, and the efficiency that comes with the knowledge. Most importantly, though, is that I have been working at a very professional competitive level for a long time. I know what kind of work is required to be considered professional and acceptable. I have been able to observe and learn from some of the best and I know what it takes to be there.

  35. Q: What's your typical work process?

  36. A: It differs greatly depending on what I'm asked to do and where I'm being asked to work. Typically I can't start until I load and organize all the audio files into a working session, so I start there. Build a Pro Tools session with no plug ins or effects, just panning. Add compression, EQ and FX where needed to get a good balance. Once I have a decent balance I can get to work doing whatever I need to do. Each process, whether its tracking, overdubs, editing, or mixing, is extremely involved and I'd be happy to explain each in person, but its just too much to write down here!

  37. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  38. A: I have access to a few different big block studios in Nashville that I usually work at, however I have a home setup that offers more affordable solutions for clients. My home setup is a mostly "in-the-box" Pro Tools setup.

  39. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  40. A: I'm inspired by producers and engineers like Dave Cobb, Vance Powell, and Butch Vig. Musically Sturgill Simpson, Ben Folds, Rodney Crowell, Chely Wright, Cake, Sara Bareilles, Tool, Paul Simon-artists that use their talent to really make their music and genre as good as it possibly can be, not just as good as it needs to be.

  41. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  42. A: My most common job is as a tracking, overdub, and vocal engineer for clients in Nashville. After that work is done, the tuning, editing, pocketing. Finally, mixing finishes it all up.

Terms Of Service

Rates are all negotiable based on a clients need, but I urge you to consider the triangle: good, fast, and cheap. You can only have two sides at once, and I won't compromise on good.

GenresSounds Like
  • Jason Aldean
  • Frankie Ballard
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